Email Encryption For Everyone

The recent confirmation that the US government, through the NSA’s PRISM surveillance, collects massive amounts of electronic data is really only the tip of the iceburg when viewed in light of all of the potential exposure email has to unauthorized access. From hackers to governments to law enforcement to targeted espionage to identity thieves, there are many who may want to access and view your email and its attachments.

Depending on the type of client you represent and the work you do unencrypted email exchange may not provide enough protection for confidential communication. The ABA’s formal opinion from 1999 on email encryption (99-413) generally allows for use of email to communicate with clients, but also provides the caveat that “when the lawyer reasonably believes that confidential client information being transmitted is so highly sensitive that extraordinary measures to protect the transmission are warranted, the lawyer should consult the client as to whether another mode of transmission is, such as special messenger delivery, is warranted..”

Much has changed since 1999. Commentary in the opinion states: “[t]he Committee believes that e-mail communications, including those sent unencrypted over the Internet, pose no greater risk of interception or disclosure than other modes of communication commonly relied upon as having a reasonable expectation of privacy. The level of legal protection accorded e-mail transmissions, like that accorded other modes of electronic communication, also supports the reasonableness of an expectation of privacy for unencrypted e-mail transmissions. ” Read in light of the known, legal interception of email transmission by the government and the increased use of webmail services that offer free service in exchange for access to the text of the email is it still reasonable to rely on an expectation of privacy and legal protection of email transmissions?

There are a variety of ways to encrypt email communications. For large firms working with corporate clients, firms representing governments, lawyers representing political prisoners and other circumstances may require an end to end encryption solution such as PGP to be set up and used by both parties. Once in place the process is relatively seamless. Lifehacker provides a great guide on end to end encryption for email clients and webmail..

However, lawyers who work with consumer clients including estate planning, family law, bankruptcy, criminal, real estate, civil rights etc. may not have a long term relationship with their clients or have the level of sensitivity in the communication that warrants a long term encryption key exchange. For those situations attorneys can still encrypt email on a short term or case by case basis by using some of the “on demand” email encryption options available. These tools are often free for limited use and while they do not provide the level of protection afforded by traditional email encryption they do provide some peace of mind. The article Easy Encryption for Email is Not an Oxymoron provides information on three such services that employ different models for protection. To see these easy encryption options in action check out the How To… video from the Chicago Bar Association’s LPMT.

Managing LinkedIn Endorsements and Optimizing Your Profile

During Membership Appreciation Week here at the Chicago Bar Association I put on a program on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. One question that came up was about the new endorsements of your skills and expertise listings. If you are interested in managing that area of your profile take a look at this short video. If you would like to see the entire program it is now online, free for Chicago Bar Association Members.

You may also want to take a look at a recent article from Attorney at Work titled “Should Lawyers Connect with Competitors?” and note the links to other pertinent articles on lawyers’ use of LinkedIn at the end of the article.

Document Assembly for Real Lawyers

“You’ve heard it from just about anywhere technology advice gets spread: Document assembly systems save time, boost productivity, reduce errors—and all while helping to eliminate reinventing the wheel when drafting documents. Sounds fabulous. But are real-life lawyers actually adopting document assembly in their practices? For insights into that—and, better still, tips on how to get the benefits without taking a wallop to the wallet—here’s the scoop from some folks in the know.”

This article  in Attorney at Work, featuring interviews with Jim Calloway and Catherine Sanders Reach, outlines the current state of document assembly software and usage in law firms.

Interested in learning more about document assembly? See the archive of the CBA  CLE “Smarter, Better, Faster, Document Assembly”  and check out the free How To… Automate Functions in MS Word and How to… Control Formatting with MS Word Styles and Templates.

Add-on: SimplyFile for MS Outlook

There are many MS Outlook add-ons that mimic functionality that is already built into the application. Though Techhit’s SimplyFile http://www.techhit.com/SimplyFile/ would seem to fall into that category since MS Outlook has a strong rules function and has added the “Move” group in the Home tab, it is actually amazingly useful despite some overlap. SimplyFile is an “intelligent filing assistant for Microsoft Outlook” and costs $50US.

So, is it worth it? Find out in my new Slaw.ca post “SimplyFile for MS Outlook

How to… Customize Site/Blog Links in Your LinkedIn Profile

Did you know you can customize the links for your blog, website and other links in your Linkedin profile to say something other than “company website” or “blog”? Here’s how!

Upcoming LPMT Programs and Training

Don’t miss upcoming CLE programs and free training sessions:

Coming up in August:

  • How to… Take Control of Social Media with Hootsuite
  • How Lawyers Can Use Collaboration Tools

Coming up in September:

  • How to… Use MS OneNote for Project Management
  • How to… Automate Functions in MS Word
  • Smarter, Better, Faster: Document Assembly

Coming up in October:

  • How to…  Get the Most Out of LinkedIn
  • How to…  Manage Complex Tasks in Basecamp
  • How to…  Use MS Outlook Add-ons
  • Intersection of Ethics and Technology

PLUS Law Firm Startup Bootcamp on Oct. 4 – everything you need to know to start (or update) your law firm!

Register online at the Chicago Bar Association – CLE - CLE Seminars  and check the LPMT “Upcoming Programs” calendar for program descriptions, dates and times.

New How to… and CLE Archives Available

New archives available:

Did you know that if you registered for a CBA LPMT CLE program or training class you can go back and watch the recording any time?  Simply log in to the Chicago Bar Association website and look under “Webcasts” and then select “My Seminars” from the drop down menu.  If you missed a session, the links to the recordings will be available on the LPMT site listed in the Program Archives link under “Upcoming Programs”. Just register to watch.

Also, all Chicago Bar Association members have access to previous progam materials, as well as white papers and other information.  Click on the “Articles (CBA Members Only)”  tab in the site header.

Keep Feeding Your Tweets to LinkedIn

Recently LinkedIn announced that due to an updated Twitter policy users can no longer have their tweets automatically appear as updates in LinkedIn. LinkedIn suggests that you update your status in LinkedIn and send it to Twitter, rather than sending tweets to LinkedIn. However, for many, that may not be an optimal workflow.

Most lawyers have little time to maintain a steady stream of updates in multiple social media channels, and connecting them – the “post once, update many” approach – often works well. While there are social media dashboards like Hootsuite (How To… training August 21!) to get the job done, the seamless “set it and forget it” approach of sending tweets directly to LinkedIn was a nice feature. So, what to do?

Thanks to @mikemcbride, who reminded me of IFTTT (If This Then That).  IFTTT gives users the ability to write “recipes” to combine  tasks on the internet based on a trigger.  For instance, if someone retweets or mentions you on Twitter you set up IFTTT to automatically thank them for the mention.  Or, if the weather forecast calls for rain send an email reminder to take an umbrella.  How about if someone mentions one of your clients in a tweet send it to a shared Evernote folder?   IFTTT works with many channels, including email, most social networks, DropBox,  SMS, ReaditLater, Evernote, and hundreds more.  You choose which channels to turn on.  The possibilities are endless.   In response to Twitter’s new policy there are a number of “recipes” already written to keep your Twitter stream flowing to LinkedIn. Remember to keep it clean, as Twitter characters and hashtags can detract from the update in LinkedIn. There are recipes including ones with limitations like no replies or retweets sent to LI or only post those with the #in hashtag.  As is often the case, when one door closes…

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